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Getting Tough On 'Non-Fee' Payers


"The Principal of Cambridge High School is out of line", said Beryl Anderson, National President of the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) in response to today's announcement by Mrs Annan that students will not receive a written testimonial, nor be in line for a monetary prize at the end of the year, if their parents fail to pay the school donation.

The Education Circular 1998/25 states in paragraph 11 that while boards may specify a sum for the annual school donation; they should make it clear to parents that this donation is voluntary and cannot be made a compulsory charge.

"This is clearly illegal. If Cambridge High follows through with this action - it is the students who will be the victims, as they will bear the brunt of this decision", said Beryl Anderson.

Evidence that some students are being disadvantaged when the 'donation' isn't paid was borne out by Sandy Latimer in her research "User-Pays in New Zealand's Free Compulsory Education System" in 2002. The findings from this research have been used by the National Council of Women of New Zealand to lobby the Minister of Education to increase the size of the operational grant to schools so that the levy of a 'donation' is not necessary.

In his response to NCWNZ's most recent letter the Minister states that, "Based on their operational grant schools budget annually for the delivery of their programme. If this is planned carefully, all basic aspects of the teaching and learning in the school can occur."

NCWNZ is appalled at what is happening at Cambridge High School.


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